Legal guide for NZ online gambling

Legal Info

For New Zealand players, the question of the legality of online gaming is very clear: Under the terms of the Gambling Act 2003, “it is not illegal for someone in New Zealand to participate in gambling over the Internet if that website is based overseas.”

This position is unequivocal and so New Zealanders can play at our recommended online casinos with total confidence, safe in the knowledge that in so doing they are breaking no laws.

What has perhaps caused some confusion on the matter is Section 9(2)(b) of the Gambling Act 2003 which prohibits remote interactive gambling at gaming sites that are operated from within New Zealand.

The Act is, however, very clear in nor prohibiting players from playing at online casino whose servers are in another country.

Four important facts about gambling laws

1.No liability for players

The terms of the Gambling Act 2003 are very clear—it is not prohibited nor illegal for a player living in New Zealand to play at an online casino that is based overseas. Therefore, players are at no risk of any form of prosecution.

2.Gambling winnings are exempt from taxation

There is no provision in the guidelines issued by Inland Revenue that relate specifically to winnings from online gambling. They do, however, make mention of income from gaming machines i.e., land-based pokies, with the guidelines stating that “all gaming machine income is exempt from income tax.” Inland Revenue considers that for most people online gambling is a hobby or pastime, and so any profits are not regarded as taxable income.

3.Sports Betting

Online sports betting in New Zealand is controlled by the New Zealand Racing Board, which is the sole provider of racing and sports betting services through the TAB. However, international online sportsbooks fall into the same category as online casinos and so any sportsbook that is run from outside of New Zealand is likewise able to take bets from New Zealanders.

4.Poker

The same laws are in place with regards to online poker rooms as online casinos—it is neither prohibited nor illegal for a New Zealand player to play online poker at a site housed outside of New Zealand.

Regulatory boards monitoring online casinos

Playing at an international online casino i.e., one based outside of New Zealand, means that in the case of fraud, unfair practices or any other issues, you will be subject to the legal system of the country that hosts the site, not New Zealand law.

However, this doesn’t mean that players are without protection. All of the online casinos that we recommend are accredited by the gaming authorities of their respective countries, and the relevant documentation and certification can be found on their sites.

In addition, all of the casinos listed on our site have been independently audited by a third-party agency, who certify the casino in terms of the fairness of its games, the security of its operations, and the transparency of its financial dealings with players. Two such agencies that certify our online casinos are eCogra, a London-based testing agency and player protection organisation, and TST (part of GLI), which verifies that casinos comply with relevant regulatory requirements and the best industry standards worldwide.

Bottom Line

For New Zealand players, playing at one of our recommended online casinos is entirely legal, and all winnings are exempt from taxation. In addition, we only list sites that have been independently audited by leading international agencies, and so players can be assured that they are playing in a safe and fair environment.

Disclaimer – This article should not be considered  as legal advice.